Formula One star Lewis Hamilton slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other lawmakers Thursday ahead of the Miami Grand Prix this weekend over several LGBTQ+ laws the state has enacted in recent months.
Hamilton, who is F1’s only Black driver, frequently speaks out about social justice and LGBTQ+ issues. This weekend in Miami, he said, will be no different for him than it was when he was competing in Saudi Arabia — which has a terrible human rights record, especially when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s not good at all,” Hamilton said, via The Associated Press. “I stand by those within the community here. I hope they continue to stand firm and push back. I’ll have the rainbow on my helmet. It’s no different to when we were in Saudi [Arabia].”
The state passed an expanded version of the the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act — which, among other things, bans schools from both using a person’s preferred pronouns if they differ from that person’s sex at birth, restricts instruction up to the eighth grade about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom and allows parents and citizens to challenge books or other classroom material they think contains pornographic or inappropriate conduct.
The state also passed a new law that bans gender-affirming care for most trans minors in the state and threatens to remove the medical license of doctors who provide that care.
The Miami Grand Prix is one of three F1 stops in the United States this season. Hamilton, who frequently wears a rainbow flag on his helmet as a sign of support for the LGBTQ+ community, spoke out against the overturning of Roe v. Wade and abortion rights at last year’s race.
As for whether Formula One should stop racing in Florida over the laws, Hamilton said it wasn’t his place to make that decision.
“I did hear and have read about some of the decisions that have been made in government here and I do not agree with it and I do not support it,” Hamilton said, via The Associated Press. “I really do continue to stand with the LGBTQ community and I’m wearing a rainbow flag on my helmet this weekend and I just really want to continue to support the community here and let them know I stand with them and I hope they continue to fight against it.
“It’s not the people of Miami that are making these decisions, it’s the people in government and that’s the issue. I think, hopefully, all I can do — the sport is going to be here whether I am or not — but the least I can do is just continue to be supportive and just being here and having that on my helmet, hopefully that speaks well to the subject.”
Lewis Hamilton joins Dwyane Wade in speaking out
Hamilton is the latest sports figure to speak out about Florida’s laws.
Longtime Miami Heat star and future NBA Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade spoke out about the state last month and again at the Met Gala earlier this week. Wade has a 15-year-old transgender daughter.
“I love Miami,” Wade said in New York, via Variety. “Miami has done so much for me, Florida has done so much for me. … But the last couple years, the laws, the politics has really become this big conversation, this unsafe conversation. It’s unsafe for my daughter, it’s unsafe for all the young kids, the youth and the adults and the [elderly] in the trans community. So for us, as much as I love that city and as much as I’m always going to be a part of it, for the safety of my family, that’s what it was for me. I couldn’t move back.
“Obviously, the work don’t stop. So for all the kids in south Florida … we will always continue to speak out, to speak up. We continue to stand with this community because this community is for us, is with us. It is our community because of our daughter, Zaya Wade.”